METI looks for funds to develop hydrogen production system
Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) has requested more money from the government in order to develop a new hydrogen supply system. The agency is seeking $400 million in order to develop this system, which will produce hydrogen fuel that will be used for new vehicles. Japan is currently considered one of the most attractive markets for hydrogen transportation due to the country’s already robust infrastructure. METI believes that the infrastructure can be improved, however, through a new economically-friendly hydrogen production system.
Hydrogen transportation may be the key to sustainability
By focusing on the promotion of hydrogen transportation, METI officials believe that they can begin weaning Japan off the use of foreign oil. A comprehensive hydrogen fuel infrastructure will pave the way for this ambitious initiative and serve as a foundation for future projects in the same vein. METI has commenced work on the construction of approximately 100 hydrogen fuel stations located in four of Japan’s major metropolitan areas – Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, and Fukuoka. These hydrogen fuel stations will assist with the commercial introduction of hydrogen-powered vehicles.
Storage remains a problematic issue
METI is currently experimenting with ways to efficiently store the hydrogen fuel that is being produced by not immediately used. The agency will have to find a storage system that can effectively contain hydrogen fuel and distribute it quickly when needed. This system must be cost effective if hydrogen fuel is to compete with traditional gasoline in transportation. Storage technologies are currently limited, but METI officials believe they will find an adequate solution to the storage problem in the near future.
Hydrogen production system may be ready by 2015
If METI is successful in convincing the Japanese government to support its initiative, the agency will receive the funds it is seeking in 2013. The money will be used to fund the aggressive research and development of an efficient hydrogen production system. This system is expected to be fully operational by the time hydrogen-powered vehicles are reach a stage of mass production, which is estimated to be some time in 2015.
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